Indigo solves the pzulze – review

Written by Wendy Fitzgerald, Illustrated by Sophie Norsa
Little steps publishing, NSW 2012
ISBN 9781921928987 (hardcover)

A book with a message about a girl who finds out she has dyslexia. She wants to feel normal and to help other people who have dyslexia.”  By Josh, aged 11

Indigo solves the pzulze is a book splashed with vibrant hues, charming watercolour illustrations and the unfolding personal story of Indigo. Without any fuss, ten-year old Indigo describes a bit about herself. She loves acting, netball, horse riding, swimming, playing guitar and spending time with her family. The illustrations depict an energetic and creative girl and so it is interesting to read that although Indigo loves hearing stories she has trouble at school learning to read.

The book’s slightly higgledy-piggledy font matches reversed and jumbled letters of posters on the classroom walls, Indigo doesn’t know why letters jump out at her. Readers understand why reading is difficult for Indigo.  Life for Indigo at school was lonely and girls in her class taunted her. Illustrator Sophie Norsa has drawn these faceless girls in grey and as bystanders. Indigo becomes secretive, hiding her feelings and sitting by herself in the playground at lunchtime. Her sadness is expressed at home when she can’t stop crying.    Her mum says we’ll work this out together.

Here is a turning point. Indigo’s mum walks with her to school accompanied by a whole chorus of birds. A revelation is about to take place! Indigo has some tests and finds that her IQ shows she is clever but she has dyslexia. Indigo and her mum are relieved and now something can be done to help her read letters, numbers and words.

Primary school children and their parents reading Indigo solves the pzulze will learn about dyslexia. Many will relate to Indigo’s personal experience because they have had similar feelings of being isolated and bullied.

A note for parents and teachers at the beginning of the book speaks of the prevalence of dyslexia for children and particularly for girls. The difference between boys and girls behaviour is explained. Girls may try to cover up their reading difficulties which go unnoticed. Many parents may not realise their daughters are struggling and are not getting the help they need.

Indigo solves the pzulze is a book which promotes early support and assistance for children to improve literacy. This has far-reaching implications for people’s lives. Indigo, her mum and Dr Catriona Wallace want to make a difference so they launched the Indigo Express Fund. Purchasing this book will help the fundraising initiative.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can have trouble with reading and writing too. Indigo Express Fund works with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, MultiLit and the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. Find more about initiatives to improve children’s literacy through resource links at the back of the book.

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
July 2015

8 topics young people with epilepsy want you to know about – resource

Young people and Epilepsy is a DVD produced in partnership with Epilepsy Foundation Victoria which presents an insight into what it is like for seven young people living with epilepsy. Topics covered include:

1.     diagnosis

2.     symptoms and seizure 
3.     medication

4.     who do you tell 
5.     challenges 
6.     getting support 
7.     looking ahead 
8.     words of wisdom

The discussions help create awareness about health information regarding Epilepsy including the different types of epilepsy. One of the goals of the DVD is to create community awareness and understanding to reduce the impact on individual lives.


By listening to the personal accounts of the young people, viewers find out what it is like for them. Symptoms, medications and challenges vary yet these young people all work towards self-control and management of epilepsy in their lives. Some of the challenges faced surround education particularly regarding absence from school and missed work as well as life at school amongst peers and teachers. For one young person a challenge was distance travelled and access to appointments and services as well as the impact of this on his family.  Dealing with tiredness, moodiness, as well a range of side effects from medications affect how the students feel. Social issues are talked about and gaining support from family, friends, health professionals, teachers and counsellors is essential.


At a time of rapid development and change, the young people provided insight into what is of importance to them and how they live with epilepsy. They provide positive insights into how they have faced and overcome challenges. Some of the young people have been living with epilepsy for a number of years and spoke about how it has changed their lives in many ways and not in others. Personal characteristics such as self-confidence and self-control have been developed. For example, several young people talked about getting enough sleep to meet the challenges of studying in high school. A few spoke of not drinking alcohol and the importance of looking after their health.


There is a section at the end for teachers. The benefits of the DVD as a tool for great learning opportunities in the classroom are highlighted. Ideas about how to use the DVD are outlined, including as a themed approach, for focus groups, raising health awareness and as awareness on chronic illness. The personal approach adds rich material and provides a unique opportunity to view chronic illness in a positive way.


The DVD can be used for professional development of various staff members at school and support information regarding a child at school with a chronic illness.Teachers will benefit from having reliable information at hand, providing support and follow-up for students as well as looking out for students who may be vulnerable.


The young people in this video have bravely talked about Epilepsy. They have told us what Epilepsy is, how they live with it, the negative impacts of living with epilepsy on their sense of who they are, as well as how they have overcome challenges. Community awareness does much to encourage children, young people and families on their journey with epilepsy.


Need more information?


If you would like to view more about epilepsy the AWCH library holds another DVD, Epilepsy in childhood which includes personal accounts from 5 families. Adults and two children talk about their experiences. This DVD covers the impact of epilepsy on both the child and their family. 


A comprehensive book, Growing up with epilepsy: a practical guide for parents, looks at many aspects of epilepsy addressing challenges found at different stages of a child’s life. Under basic tools, find out about understanding epilepsy, challenges of living with epilepsy, epilepsy at the “dinner table” and epilepsy goes to school. Although written in an American context the author, Lynn Bennett Blackburn, pediatric neuropsychologist at St Louis Children’s hospital, has much to offer parents at different stages of their child’s journey.


For more school, student and teacher savvy information, head to Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria’s Smart Schools program.
Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
March 2015